German newspaper employee attacked Monday by far-right group

Activists belonging to the Identitarian Movement attacked a taz employee Monday morning in front the liberal leaning daily newspaper’s Berlin headquarters, according to taz.

German newspaper employee attacked Monday by far-right group
The entrance to the taz building in central Berlin. Photo: DPA

The woman was reportedly grabbed and struck in the upper body after attempting to prevent the far-right activists from placing a poster on the taz building. Taz reports that a group of at least six Identitarian Movement activists had pamphlets and placards and were piling bricks in front of the building.

They were attempting to hang a large poster featuring Frank Magnitz, the head of the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) in Bremen.

Magnitz was attacked in his hometown last week after attending a New Year’s reception. At the time, local police said, “Given the victim's work, we believe that this is a politically motivated act.”

Following the attack, politicians, including the likes of Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Green Party politician Cem Özdemir, said then that violence is never justified as political communication.

Monday’s assailants at taz were mostly dressed in black with hoods over their heads and drove up in a car with a Rostock license plate in the early morning, according to the newspaper. Before leaving the scene, the group took photos and later posted them to Twitter.

The Berlin Office of Criminal Investigations (LKA) has taken over the investigation, according to a police statement obtained by The Local. The suspects are under investigation for possible trespassing and dangerous bodily injury.

Other actions throughout Germany

The Identitarian Movement carried out other activities at other media and political sites throughout Germany Monday morning.

The Frankfurter Rundschau reports activists attempted to place posters outside its offices Monday, but police prevented the group from doing so. Police stopped approximately ten people outside the Frankfurter Rundschau Monday morning near posters and flyers with text that read “When do you talk about left-wing violence?” and the symbol of the Identitarian Movement.

“It is likely that this action was directed against the Frankfurter Rundschau, which regularly reports critically on the extreme right in general and the ‘identities’ in particular,” the newspaper said on its website. 

ARD Capital Studio also saw activists Monday and Tagesschau reports that other actions occurred at Der Spiegel headquarters in Hamburg, the constituency office of the Green Party politician Claudia Roth in Augsburg, and a party office of the Left in Lüneburg.

In previous years, according to reports, the Identitarian Movement has also carried out political protests at the Brandenburg Gate. 

Deutsche Welle has previously reported that the Identitarians are a pan-European movement of young nationalists that originated in France. Their main purpose in defending Europe's “identity” from Islamization, and uses the “lambda” symbol historically associated with the ancient Greek Spartan army. Members of the group often describe themselves as a “meta-political project.” 


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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.